Activation Energy Calculations for Formamide–TiO2 and Formamide–Pt Interactions in the Presence of Water

The Open Biochemistry Journal 22 Mar 2013 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874091X01307010033


Formamide contains the four elements (C, H, O, and N) most required for life and it is attractive as a potential prebiotic starting material for nucleobase synthesis. In the presence of catalysts (for example, TiO2) and with moderate heating, formamide can pass surface energy barriers, yielding a complete set of nucleic bases and acyclonucleosides, and favoring both phosphorylations and transphosphorylations necessary for life. In the reaction mechanism, interaction with water seems to be an essential factor for the formamide molecule to function. In this paper, a formamide–water solution on a TiO$_2$ (anatase) surface is simulated using the molecular dynamics method, and activation energy calculations are performed for the temperature range of T = 250 K to T = 400 K. A correlation is established between the diffusion and density profiles for the formamide and water molecules on an anatase surface. Also, the calculated activation energies of the formamide–water–anatase and formamide–water–platinum systems are compared. A comparative analysis is performed of the behavior of formamide–water and ethanol–water interaction on the same (anatase and platinum) surfaces.

Keywords: Formamide molecule, water, surface, catalysts, activation energy, MD simulations.
Fulltext HTML PDF